Ecosystem-Based Integrated Ocean Management: A Framework for Sustainable Ocean Economy Development

Box 3. The 12 principles of the ecosystem approach, as defined for the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Malawi Principles)

management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans. The goal of [EBM] is to maintain an ecosystem in a healthy, productive and resil- ient condition so that it can provide the services humans want and need. [EBM] differs from current approaches that usually focus on a single species, sector, activity or concern; it considers the cumula- tive impacts of different sectors.” They further state that EBM “focuses on managing human activities, rather than deliberately manipulating or managing entire ecosystems”. Long et al. (2015) identified 15 key principles that are consistently mentioned in EBM definitions. Top among these were the consideration of ecosystem connections, management at spatial and tempo- ral scales that are appropriate to ecosystems and ecosystem dynamics, adaptive management and a range of principles related to the different forms of integration outlined later in this section. Although there is broad agreement on these core principles, there are different perspectives on EBM’s more detailed facets. Waylen et al. (2014) identified three clusters of interpretations that emphasize different aspects. The first cluster has an ecologically-cen- tred perspective focused primarily on ecosystem conservation, with the second cluster centred more on addressing human needs within ecosys- tem boundaries and the third cluster on the anal- ysis and valuation of ecosystem services. These Recognizing potential gains from management, there is usu- ally a need to understand and manage the ecosystem in an economic context. Any such ecosystem-management pro- gramme should: a) Reduce those market distortions that adversely affect biological diversity; b) Align incentives to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use; c) Internalize costs and benefits in the given ecosystem to the extent feasible. 1. The objectives of management of land, water and living re- sources are a matter of societal choice. 2. Management should be decentralized to the lowest appro- priate level. 3. Ecosystem managers should consider the effects (actual or potential) of their activities on adjacent and other ecosys- tems. 4.

three perspectives are interrelated, complementary and all relevant for EB-IOM. Many sources stress that uncertainties should be articulated clearly in EBM (Long et al. 2015). How- ever, they shouldn’t unduly delay management actions to prevent ecosystem degradation. In fact, adaptive management (a central element of EBM, section 4.2) is designed specifically to facilitate planning in the context of uncertainties. To prevent breaches of ecosystem boundaries, adaptive man- agement should go hand in hand with the precau- tionary principle (Curtin and Prellezo 2010), which can be summarized as follows: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the envi- ronment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically” (Science & Environ- mental Health Network 2013). The ecosystem approach has been adopted into marine policy in several places. The Norwegian Ministry of the Environment (2009), for example, advocates for “integrated, ecosystem-based man- agement” for the Norwegian Sea, while the Arctic Council, in its 2013 Kiruna Declaration, adopts and defines EBM as “Comprehensive, integrated man- agement of human activities based on best avail- able scientific and traditional knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to iden- 5. Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning, in order to maintain ecosystem services, should be a priority target of the ecosystem approach. 6. Ecosystems must be managed within the limits to their func- tioning. 7. The ecosystem approach should be undertaken at the appro- priate spatial and temporal scales. 8. Recognizing the varying temporal scales and lag-effects that characterize ecosystem processes, objectives for ecosystem management should be set for the long term. 9. Management must recognize that change is inevitable. 10. The ecosystem approach should seek the appropriate bal- ance between, and integration of, conservation and use of biological diversity. 11. The ecosystem approach should consider all forms of rel- evant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices. 12. The ecosystem approach should involve all relevant sectors of society and scientific disciplines.


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